Malinga declared national hero

Cde Joshua Teke Malinga

SPECIAL Advisor to the President, Zanu PF Politburo member and former Executive Mayor of Bulawayo, Cde Joshua Teke Malinga, who died on Friday, has been declared a national hero.

He was 79.

In his condolence message last night, President Mnangagwa said the ruling Zanu PF party had unanimously conferred him with national hero status in recognition of his role in championing the cause of special interest groups in public policy, particularly those living with disability.

“In recognition of his distinguished role in the struggle for our independence, in the development of our nation since its inception, and in championing the cause of special interest groups in public policy and national development, the ruling Zanu PF Party has unanimously decided to accord Cde Malinga national hero status,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said he learnt with sadness about the demise of Cde Malinga.

“I learnt with a deep sense of grief and sadness of the passing on last Friday of Cde Joshua Teke Malinga, following a brave fight against a malignant form of prostrate cancer. A nationalist stalwart and vocal proponent of disability rights, the late Cde Malinga was a leading voice both in the ruling party, Zanu PF, and in Government on disability issues, including ensuring, in his capacity as my special advisor, that Government policy was alive and sensitive to interests of disabled persons across gender, age, class or colour,” said President Mnangagwa.

“My decision to appoint him to advise me on this all-important yet often easily overlooked area was informed by his unequivocal and fervent interest in protecting and defending the rights of disabled persons.”

Cde Malinga’s illustrious life, said President Mnangagwa, was testimony that disability is not an inability for one to discover himself.

“A victim of polio at a tender age of 2, the late Cde Malinga’s illustrious life and career bore testimony to the fact that circumstances of disability need not diminish one’s ability and life chances. For him, disability became a spur to an exceptional life and career, including courageously participating and sharing in the risks of nationalist politics, and in the struggle for our independence,” said President Mnangagwa.

“An accounting graduate, Cde Malinga rose through the ranks of the country’s nationalist politics until he was elevated to the Central Committee and, later to the Politburo of the ruling party, Zanu PF which he served with utmost loyalty, even as his health gradually failed and deserted him. He never missed any party functions or meetings.”

He said Cde Malinga demonstrated diligence and integrity during his time as Mayor of Bulawayo.

“A two-time Executive Mayor of our second capital, Bulawayo, the late Cde Malinga personified diligence and integrity in civil and municipal matters, virtues woefully scarce nowadays. His wise leadership and profound counsel will thus be sorely missed at different echelons of our party, our Government and our nation,” President Mnangagwa said.

“May I, on behalf of our nation, the ruling Zanu PF party, Government, my family and on my behalf, express my deepest, heartfelt condolences to the Malinga family on this their saddest loss.

“May they derive solace from the knowledge that the nation in whose defence and interest Cde Malinga was put under illegal sanctions, today joins them in mourning his sad, untimely demise, and in according him deserved honours and a befitting farewell.”

Cde Malinga was born on April 20, 1944, in Filabusi. He was born able-bodied and was attacked by polio at a very young age.

He grew up in Filabusi and would remain at home looking after the grains while others took to the fields.

He was then taken to Bulawayo by the late Cde Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu who took him to Jairos Jiri centre where he went to school and later trained as a cobbler.

As a young man he was touched by how blacks were treated by whites leading him to join politics.

He became an activist and rose in politics to become a popular figure. Cde Malinga was later elected Ward 2 Councillor in the early 1990s and became Mayor in 1993 up to 1996 serving two terms as an Executive Mayor.

He was once a Zanu PF district chairman for Lookout Masuku district before becoming a Provincial member. He rose to become a Central Committee member and was subsequently appointed a member of the Politburo up to the time of his death. He was once the World President of the disabled people.

Mourners are gathered at number 1 Brooke road in Richmond, Bulawayo

Herald

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